In Bayesian analysis of multi-way contingency tables, the selection of a prior distribution for either the log-linear parameters or the cell probabilities parameters is a major challenge. In this paper, we define a flexible family of conjugate priors for the wide class of discrete hierarchical log-linear models, which includes the class of graphical models. These priors are defined as the Diaconis–Ylvisaker conjugate priors on the log-linear parameters subject to “baseline constraints” under multinomial sampling. We also derive the induced prior on the cell probabilities and show that the induced prior is a generalization of the hyper Dirichlet prior. We show that this prior has several desirable properties and illustrate its usefulness by identifying the most probable decomposable, graphical and hierarchical log-linear models for a six-way contingency table.
"A conjugate prior for discrete hierarchical log-linear models." Ann. Statist. 37 (6A) 3431 - 3467, December 2009. https://doi.org/10.1214/08-AOS669